Local theater lovers were thrilled to see Philadelphia playwright James Ijames win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his 2021 play Fat Ham, which debuted at the Wilma last spring.
Fat Ham was inspired by Hamlet, but this story doesn't end like you think it will, BSR critic Hanae Mason wrote at the time. "Being Black is neither tragic, nor should it confine one to a life (or death) of tragedy. We will all die someday, but it is the queering and questioning that make life worth living today." I'll include a link to the review below, for anyone who wants to revisit it.
Meanwhile, the Philly arts community is facing the same fight for the third year in a row: Mayor Kenney's proposed FY23 budget would cut the Philadelphia Cultural Fund budget by nearly one third, while claiming to support the arts. A Pulitzer win for an artist deeply rooted in the Philadelphia community throws this disregard from City Hall into sharp relief. Check out my latest editorial, and if you're free this morning, head to an 11:30am rally at City Hall to show City Council that we support arts funding. And if you can't attend, make your voice heard in other ways.
One more thing (besides this week's reviews, of course)! You're invited to a virtual BSR event on Wednesday, May 25 at 7pm on Zoom. Associate editor Kyle will be hosting a live chat with bestselling author, viral cultural critic, and rising playwright R. Eric Thomas. It's a pay-what-you-can event, with a suggested donation of $5. And anyone who gives $10 or more between now and May 25 can enter a drawing to win a signed copy of Thomas's new book, Kings of B'More. RSVP now! It's going to be a great conversation, and we can't wait to see you.